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Archive for October, 2010

Chapter 7 Reading Notes: Creating News Features and Op-Ed from: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox

In this chapter the book discusses news features and Op-Ed’s.  A feature story can provide additional background information, generate human interest, and create understanding in a more imaginative way.

Feature stories can provide five different aspects to your writing:

  1. Provide more information to the consumer
  2. Give background and context about organizations
  3. Provide behind-the scenes perspective
  4. Give a human dimension to situations and events
  5. Generate publicity for standard products and services

There is no formal classification for feature stories and no practical limit to the variety of stories that can be written .  There are six frequently seen and used feature stories:

  1. Case Studies
  2. Application Stories
  3. Research Studies
  4. Backgrounders
  5. Personality profiles
  6. Historical pieces

The term Op-Ed means “opposite the editorial page.” The purpose of op-ed articles is to present a variety of views on current news events, governmental policies, pending legislation, and social issues.

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Chapter 6 Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches from: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed. by Dennis L. Wilcox.

In this chapter the book discusses how to prepare fact sheets, advisories, media kits, and pitches.

Fact Sheets- Often accompany a news release or a media kit.  It is a list of facts in outline or bullet form that a reporter can use as a quick reference when writing a story. A fact sheet may form the basis of a whole story for a reporter, or the reporter might just use one or two of the facts provided.

Media Advisories– Can also be called media alerts because they tell assignment editors about up-coming events that they might be interested in covering from a story, photo, and video perspective.  Media alerts about upcoming events typically include the five Ws and H in outline form.

Media Kits– Also can be called a press kit, is usually prepared for major events and new product launches.  A basic media kit includes 7 things:

  1. A main news release
  2. A news feature
  3. Fact sheets on the product, organization, or event
  4. Background information
  5. Photos and drawings with captions
  6. Biographical material on the spokesperson or senior executive
  7. Some basic brochures

Pitching a Story–  Convince editors and reporters to cover an event or do a story.  They must be brief, raise interest, and come immediately to the point.  Pitch letters are customized to each editor based on the publication’s content, demographics, and circulation.

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Chapter 5 Writing the News Release: from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed, by Dennis L. Wilcox

In this chapter the authors discuss how to write news releases.

The traditional news release in the United States has been written on letter-sized white paper measuring 8.5 by 11 inches. 

Double spacing is the standard for printing news releases distributed via fax or regular mail.  However, if you are distributing news releases via e-mail and the Internet, single-spacing is the standard format.

The Associated Press Stylebook is the standard reference for writing news releases because it makes the work of reporters and editors much easier.

There are five basic types of news releases:

  1. Announcements
  2. Spot Announcements
  3. Reaction Releases
  4. Bad News
  5. Local News

The most important part of any release is the lead paragraph.  In the lead paragraph you must give the reader the basic details of the story or entice the reader to read the second paragraph in one to three sentences.

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